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SANS NewsBites is a semiweekly high-level executive summary of the most important news articles that have been published on computer security during the last week. Each news item is very briefly summarized and includes a reference on the web for detailed information, if possible.

Spend five minutes per week to keep up with the high-level perspective of all the latest security news. New issues are delivered free every Tuesday and Friday.

Volume XIX - Issue #2

January 6, 2017


FTC Suing D-Link Over Unsecure Routers and Cameras
FTC Announces IoT Security Challenge
Android January Update Fixes 90 Flaws
Android Had the Most Detected Vulnerabilities in 2016


MM Core Backdoor Reemerges With Two New Variants
Kaspersky Updates Antivirus Products to Fix Certificate Collision Issue
Unprotected MongoDB Installations Targeted in Malware Attacks
California Ransomware Bill Goes Into Effect
Software Update Causes Problems for Some U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Systems
Not All Federal Agency Websites Have Met HTTPS Migration Deadline



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FTC Suing D-Link Over Unsecure Routers and Cameras (January 5, 2017)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated legal action against D-Link for "fail
[ing ]
to take steps to protect their routers and IP cameras from widely known and reasonably foreseeable risks of unauthorized access." The security issues could be exploited to steal information and to spy on consumers.

[Editor Comments ]

[Pescatore ]
Two things are good to see here: (1) The FTC firing a shot across the bow of the consumer router vendors; and (2) the FTC focused on the fact that D-Link actually made claims of high levels of security while failing to provide basic levels of security in their products and processes. Home users are trying to get more secure against attacks (a recent Johns Hopkins University/University of Maryland survey showed this in a big way) and vendors have started to talk the talk about security. It is very good to see the FTC remind them that they need to walk the walk, too - and increase security *before* increasing marketing about security.

[Williams ]
Most in the press are reporting this story incorrectly. The FTC isn't bringing a product liability case because D-Link built insecure products. The FTC is suing because D-Link made material claims about the security of their products, which they reasonably should have known were untrue. Had D-Link made no claims about the security features of their devices, the FTC would likely have no case.

[Paller ]
Jake Williams is correct; many companies have avoided FTC scrutiny by removing claims of ensuring customer privacy from their published privacy policies. Manufacturers of home products won't be able to do that, however, as John Pescatore notes, because if they don't make marketing claims that their products are secure, their sales will increasingly suffer. Kudos to the FTC.

[Northcutt ]
This is actually the only way companies will practice due diligence. Cybersecurity is very similar to safety and with IOT it will only become more so. This starts to set case law for far more scary concepts like automobiles that can be hacked from a thousand miles away.



Read more in:

Ars Technica: Unsecure routers, webcams prompt feds to sue D-Link

Computerworld: FTC goes after D-Link for shoddy security in routers, cameras

The Hill: Feds allege security flaws in D-Link routers, cameras

FTC Complaint:

FTC Announces IoT Security Challenge (January 4, 2017)

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is holding a contest that will award a prize of up to USD 25,000 for the best technical solution to Internet of Things (IoT) security for home networks. The tool could be a physical device that connects to a home network and checks for updates for other connected IoT devices; it could also be an app, a cloud-based service, or a user interface. Registration forms will be available on or about March 1, 2017. The deadline for submissions is May 22, 2017; winners will be announced at the end of July 2017.

[Editor Comments ]

[Murray ]
While one wants home appliances to be resistant to outside interference and contamination, the bigger problem is devices that are directly addressable from the Internet, devices that can be co-opted into bot-nets and used in denial of service and brute force attacks.

Read more in:

KrebsOnSecurity: The FTC's Internet of Things (IoT) Challenge

Dark Reading: FTC Launches Contest For Technology Tool To Protect Home IoT Devices

FTC: IoT Home Inspector Challenge

Android January Update Fixes 90 Flaws (January 5, 2017)

Google's first security update for Android in 2017 includes fixes for 90 vulnerabilities. Of those, 29 are rated critical. The update includes fixes for issues in the Android mediaserver component, Qualcomm components, and the Linux kernel.

[Editor Comments ]

[Ullrich ]
The most significant vulnerability in this patch is a remote code execution vulnerability in Android's media server. These bugs have become known as "stagefright" vulnerabilities, named after the affected library. Google has been patching this library for a few years now, and exploits have been released for past "stagefright" flaws.

[Paller ]
It may be useful to point out that the fact that Google issued fixes to Android in no way means that people who use Android are now protected. A complex supply chain from Google to end users may take weeks, months or forever before the protections are in place.

Read more in:

eWeek: Google Patches Android For 90 Vulnerabilities in January Update

Android Had the Most Detected Vulnerabilities in 2016 (January 4, 2017)

Google's Android operating system had 523 discovered vulnerabilities in 2016, making it the product with the most discovered flaws last year, according to the CVE Details website. Debian Linux and Ubuntu Linux came in second and third, with 319 and 278 flaws, respectively. Adobe Flash Player placed fourth with 266 vulnerabilities.

[Editor Comments ]

[Pescatore ]
For 2015, Apple MacOS and Iphone OS were the products with the most CVEs listed, and now in 2016 we see Android with the most vulnerabilities listed, yet over 2015 and 2016 the number of successful exploits against Mac, iPhone and Android devices was very low, even though large numbers of very high value targets use all of those products. Mechanisms like the Apple App Store and Google Play have greatly increased the difficulty for real world exploits to cause meaningful damage. Conversely, Adobe Flash and Acrobat products occupied 4 of the top 10 CVE slots in both 2015 and 2016 with many successful exploits on Windows platforms where whitelist/application control mechanisms are rarely in use.

Read more in:

SC Magazine: Data: More vulnerabilities found in Google Android than any other program in 2016

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MM Core Backdoor Reemerges With Two New Variants (January 5, 2017)

Two new variants of the MM Core backdoor malware have surfaced. Known as BigBoss and SillyGoose, they are based on the MM Core backdoor, which was first detected in 2013 and has been dormant since then. BigBoss is believed to have been used in attacks since mid-2015; SillyGoose has been used in attacks starting in September 2016.

[Editor Comments ]

[Williams ]
This article mentions that the core code of the backdoor remains unchanged. The attackers simply changed file names and mutexes. That the new variants remained undetected says that we are not forcing attackers to move far enough up the pyramid of pain (

This story also highlights the value of deep binary analysis skills, which can help create IOCs based on the core code.

Read more in:

The Register: Spy code dormant for three years resurfaces in two new variants

Forcepoint: MM Core In-Memory Backdoor Returns as "BigBoss" and "SillyGoose"

Kaspersky Updates Antivirus Products to Fix Certificate Collision Issue (January 4, 2017)

Google's Project Zero alerted Kaspersky Lab to a problem in its antivirus products that left users open to traffic interception attacks through SSL/TLS certificate collisions. The issue was in Kaspersky's SSL/TLS traffic inspection feature; Kaspersky was using just the first 32 bits of an MD5 hash in its SSL proxy. Kaspersky has updated affected products.

[Editor Comments ]

[Ullrich ]
Inspecting SSL encrypted traffic has become a requirement for security solutions. But in the process, organizations often weaken the SSL certificate verification. Without proper certificate validation, SSL does not provide confidentiality. Kaspersky isn't the first company to have difficulties implementing this correctly.

Read more in:

The Register: Kaspersky fixing serious certificate slip

ZDNet: Project Zero calls out Kaspersky AV for SSL interception practices

Computerworld: Kaspersky antivirus exposed used to traffic-interception attacks

Unprotected MongoDB Installations Targeted in Malware Attacks (January 4 & 5, 2017)

Unprotected MongoDB installations are being hit with ransomware attacks. The perpetrators delete the data from the database and post a message demanding payment in bitcoin. The number of attacks is growing, and in some cases, the data from the databases are being destroyed so even when the ransom is paid, the data are not returned. Users running unsecured versions of MongoDB are urged to update the software and implement authentication.

[Editor Comments ]

[Williams ]
While MongoDB is in the news right now, don't forget we had an article about rsync in NewsBites earlier this week. We still also find open memcached installations. Good software inventories, change control processes, and continuous vulnerability assessment will help organizations face the MongoDB challenges and challenges yet to be discovered.

Read more in:

SC Magazine: MongoDB databases under attack worldwide

The Register: Web-exposed MongoDB installs wiped by bitcoin ransoming script scum

Threatpost: Attacks on MongoDB Rise as Hijackings Continue

California Ransomware Bill Goes Into Effect (January 3 & 4, 2017)

A new law that took effect in California on January 1, 2017 punishes conviction of distributing ransomware with a prison sentence of up to four years. In the past, ransomware cases were tried under existing extortion statutes. According to the bill's sponsor, California State Senator Bob Hertzberg, "This legislation provides prosecutors the clarity they need to charge and convict perpetrators of ransomware."

Read more in:

SC Magazine: Ransomware crime bill goes into effect in California

Ars Technica: Watch out hackers: Deploying ransomware is now a crime in California

California Senate: Gov. Brown Signs Legislation Punishing Ransomware

Software Update Causes Problems for Some U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Systems (January 3 & 5, 2017)

A problematic software update caused systems used by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to be offline for four hours on January 2, 2017, causing travel delays. The affected systems are used to process incoming international travelers at airports. Due to the outage, incoming travelers were processed using backup systems, which took considerably longer. National security database checks were unaffected.

Read more in:

FCW: Buggy software update crashes CBP airport systems

FedScoop: Customs outage from software update disrupts travel into the U.S.

Not All Federal Agency Websites Have Met HTTPS Migration Deadline (January 3, 2017)

Roughly 30 percent of federal government agency websites have not yet implemented HTTPS. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandated that "all publicly accessible federal websites and web services" transition to HTTPS by December 31, 2016. Agencies were instructed to prioritize domains that are used to exchange sensitive data or that receive large volumes of traffic.

Read more in:

FCW: 3 in 10 agency websites miss OMB deadline to migrate to HTTPS


Removing "Ransom Ware" From Android Based LG TVs

libpng Patches 30 Year Old Bug

Kaspersky Antivirus SSL Interception Vulnerability

Thunderbird Update Fixes Critical Vulnerability

GRE Packets May Be Related To Linux Kernel Bug

Insecure MongoDB Instances Hit By Fake Ransomware

Android Security Update

Identifying WordPress Websites on Local Networks

Google.com.br DNS Hijack

Attackers Use Stolen Passwords To Take Over Spreadshirt.com Accounts.

(sorry, only in German)

Ransomware Adding DDoS Component

Old Malware Returning in Targeted Attacks

The Editorial Board of SANS NewsBites

View the Editorial Board of SANS Newsbites here: https://www.sans.org/newsletters/newsbites/editorial-board